France strikes: walkout causes more disruption for Eurostar travellers

Latest Eurostar cancellations affect 20,000 travellers

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Monday 16 December 2019 16:41
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French strikes lead to travel chaos

With no sign of an end to the strike disruption to travel to, from and within France, Eurostar has extended its “rolling cancellations” to Wednesday.

The cross-Channel train operator has cancelled a total of 33 trains on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, affecting around 20,000 passengers with confirmed bookings.

Most of the cancellations are between London St Pancras and Paris Nord, but nine are to and from Brussels Midi. No Disneyland Paris services are affected.

While no Eurostar staff are on strike, signallers employed by SNCF (French Railways) are walking out. This has reduced the flow rate of trains in northern France.

Passengers whose trains are cancelled can claim a full refund or rebook on another Eurostar service up to 60 days from the date of the journey.

But travellers who booked hotels independently of the rail ticket may find it difficult to claim a refund from the property.

The strikes are in protest against government plans to reform pension arrangements.

Meanwhile the Foreign Office is warning British travellers of disruption caused by protesters: “As part of the ongoing industrial action, wider demonstrations are also planned across France on Tuesday 17 December. Avoid demonstrations wherever possible and follow the advice of the local authorities.”

It also warns that the national upheaval is causing particular problems for travellers within France: “This is primarily affecting transport and public services, with ongoing cancellations and severe delays to train, metro, bus and tram services.

“Industrial action at ports may cause delays and cancellations to some cross-Channel ferry services. Industrial action by hauliers on some major roads may also cause delays or blockages."

“Strike action by Air France workers and air traffic controllers may also cause disruption to air travel.”

One of a series of sporadic strikes by air-traffic controllers will reduce operations in French airspace on Tuesday, with Eurocontrol in Brussels warning of some disruption both on flights to France and on overflights, with routes from the UK to Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Italy likely to be affected.

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